Scalability of COVID vaccination & reducing vaccine wastage crucial : Dr. Ram Sewak Sharma

New Delhi

PAFI Dialogue organized by Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI), Dr. Ram Sewak Sharma, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), National Health Authority, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt of India and Chairman of Co-WIN Panel saidCo-WIN application is a robust digital infrastructure critical for the success of COVID vaccination which supports in setting eligibility and identity criteria, issuing vaccination certificates and ensuring scalability of the system.

On the question of increasing COVID vaccination speed in India, Dr. Sharma said that supply of vaccine, capacity to vaccinate and demand for the vaccine are crucial determinants. He stressed that vaccination aims to cover people who need the vaccine and not those who want it with the responsibility of state government and local authorities to prevent vaccine wastage.

The theme of the PAFI Dialogue was “COVID vaccination and the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM)”.

Dr. Sharma explained that the change in the Co-WIN digital platform from the supply-driven response in the initial phase of vaccination of frontline workers and healthcare workers to now being demand driven since March 2021, where the citizen can register and book an appointment schedule. This change in digital system delivery is requisite for accelerating the speed of COVID- Vaccination in the country.

Talking about the global validity of the digital vaccination certificate issued by Overbent of India, Dr. Sharma said, “WHO is working on a standard which is called as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). They are designing and working on the format of the digital certificate including various aspects that a digital certificate should contain and digital verifiability of same. India since the beginning has aligned to it. As soon as they come up with the standard, we will be in full compliance with FHRI standard. So, the digital certificate issued by India will be valid everywhere”.

Highlighting NDHM as an industry-led platform and stating the growth of teleconsultation, Dr. Sharma said that currently we are registering 6.2 billion consultations per day and we aim to achieve 200 billion consultations per day.

Stressing the role of the private sector in vaccination, Dr. Sharma said that “Private sector has the huge role to play in the entire vaccination process ranging from mobilizing and creating awareness about the entire vaccination process and vaccine hesitancy.”Ishteyaque Amjad, President, PAFI & Group Head Corporate Affairs, Godrej Group presented opening remarks; Harish Krishnan, Past President & Co-founder PAFI & Managing Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India & SAARC moderated the session and Virat Bhatia, Secretary, PAFI & Managing Director – Strategy & Policy, Apple India gave a vote of thanks during the PAFI Dialogue.

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